Out Of The Mouths Of Haredi PR Flacks

By Failed Messiah blog
May 17, 2012

Yossi Gestetner told Fox 5 last night that no one in the hasidic community was saying that crimes should not be reported to police. That is, of course, a lie.

Gestetner was identified by Fox as a supporter of the victim, not as a spokesperson or p.r. flack.

I posted on this last night, and that prompted the following email exchange with Gestetner:

On May 17, 2012, at 8:39 AM, Yossi Gestetner wrote:

Shmarya,

The following is for the record and to be used please in full context only:

I was hired by event organizers to communicate with the press/media the goal of the Weberman event and to accommodate the news-gathering needs of the reporters. I informed this fact to each and every reporter when I arrived on scene.

It's a standard practice at any major event with considerable public interest to have a representative for media/press outreach; exactly a service that I provided last night.

The by-line placed beneath my name on screen is above my pay-grade.

As for people sticking up for the defended vs. the victim, have in mind that victims have the full weight and funding of a professional staff at the DA's office, while defendeds do not (always) have. It's fair that both sides have the best legal teams on their side to battle out this case in a court of law, and for the public to perceive a defended as... Innocent until proven guilty.

------Original Message------
From: Shmarya Rosenberg
To: Yossi Gestetner
Subject: Re: For The Record
Sent: May 17, 2012 2:14 PM

According to halakha (and common sense), alleged victims have to be treated with kindness and respect and they must be given emotional and other support. You cannot simply support the accused pedophile alone and say "innocent until proven guilty." But, heck, why should hasidim care about that?

On May 17, 2012, at 1:16 PM, Yossi Gestetner wrote:

Indeed. An alleged victim needs support. I hope all the groups and orgs who make it to the national papers every day in the past month, will provide it.

------Original Message------
From: Shmarya Rosenberg
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject: Re: For The Record
Sent: May 17, 2012 2:29 PM

Please. You don't know halakha, and the obligation to provide support applies to your clients as much as it applies to anyone else. You should be ashamed of yourself and of your community.

On May 17, 2012, at 6:33 PM, Yossi Gestetner wrote:

Am not a therapist. Can't provide support for the victim. Sorry.

-----Original Message-----
From: Shmarya Rosenberg
Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 18:36:39
To: Yossi Gestetner
Subject: Re: For The Record

You're a very sick person, Yossi.

On May 17, 2012, at 6:41 PM, Yossi Gestetner wrote:

Common. My job is outreach. I bring the secular and Jewish worlds together and vice versa, when either side needs/wants to reach out to the other. I connect people to media/press, and so on. I am not in a position to stick-up for this or for that. I never spoke to the defended and don't even know who the victim is. So what exactly do you expect.

Lets see.

What we expect, Yossi, is that alleged victims won't be harassed and threatened, that they will not be shunned by the community, that they will not be expelled from school and banned from synagogues, and that they will not be branded and judged to be liars, whores, prostitutes and all the other things your community calls them.

The victims and their families all tell the same story of ostracism and harassment.

On the other hand, alleged pedophiles who are haredi can count on strong community support.

Why?

Because those haredim accused of pedophilia are "innocent until proven guilty." You said so yourself.

But the alleged victims are not given that benefit of the doubt by your rabbis or by your fellow hasidim.

What could you do?

You could stop participating in events like the one last night that demonize alleged victims.

You could show genuine empathy for the kids who say they have been raped and abused.

And you could stand up against the harassment and ostracism heaped on those kids and their families.

That it takes me to explain this to you is sad – but it isn't as sad as the attitude you summed up with this one sentence:

Am not a therapist. Can't provide support for the victim. Sorry.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Yossi.

But you aren't.